Wine Picks- June 2011

Posted on June 3, 2011 – 5:49 AM | by Admin
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By Michele Hébert

Chateau Valcombe, “Epicure”
Cotes du Ventoux 2010
Taylor’s Market  $15.99

Aaahhhh, this is the time of year in France when every cafe table has a bottle of rosé on top, flanked by good looking people having interesting conversations. Increasingly that’s what Sacramento looks like in June too, now that the specter of White Zinfandel has all but faded away and local wine bar patrons are aware of the joy that crisp, dry rosé can bring.  Chateau Valcombe’s “Epicure” rosé is made in the classic style from mostly Cinsault grapes.  The Cotes de Ventoux appellation is around 1000 feet above sea level on Mont Ventoux in Provence. The higher elevation offers relief from the hot, dry Mediterranean weather; the crisp acidity found in this rosé is evidence of that. The vineyard soil is covered in brown limestone river rocks called “galets.” The rocks work as a kind of mulch, preventing precious moisture from evaporating out of the soil; they also radiate energy captured from the sun during the day back on the vines at night, helping to ripen the grapes. Grab a bottle of this rosé from Taylor’s Market for $15.99, and take it on a picnic with ham and swiss on baguette.

Marcel Deiss, “Bergheim”
2009 Alsace Pinot Blanc
Taylor’s Market $21.99

Jean-Michel, the current Deiss at the helm of his family’s estate, favors the idea of vineyard expression over varietal character. Even among Europeans, Deiss is a terroir nerd. His vineyard specific wines are field blends, meaning that in an effort to reject the notion that the grape variety might trump terroir, he plants, harvests, and vinifies different grapes together. Even his so-called varietal wines like this 2009 Bergheim Pinot Blanc is blended with grapes like Pinots Noir and Gris.  Deiss’s terroir-driven practices are considered radical by his neighbor’s standards, but in effect he is an uber-traditionalist. The wine has depth and complexity — not qualities inherent to Pinot Blanc — which is balanced by acidity and minerality. It was recently paired with a roast chicken (Thomas Keller’s recipe) and english pea risotto, though it was a better match for the chicken as it overwhelmed the risotto. Wines from this estate aren’t often seen in Sacramento, so seize the chance to drink a Deiss — available at Taylor’s for $21.99.

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